Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Defensive Measures While Traveling

©Bert Gildart: Prior to posting my last two blogs, I wrote several friends who travel widely and asked for their thoughts. I think they are exceptional and have combined them. Individuals here have asked to remain anonymous, and I’ve certainly followed their wishes, appreciative they’d take time to  contribute to this dialogue, much of which is about the use of firearms.  Before reading this posting you should read my last two posts, revealing how we’ve gotten to this point.

Their Advice:

I believe that situations that are threatening when we travel in our RV must be handled in a defensive mode. Aggression against yourself or loved ones is what we are trying to avoid. When we find ourselves in a situation that is starting to or has the potential to turn ugly, how do we deal with it? Unless you are a cop or a person of authority for the park or campground, your reactions must be defensive not aggressive.


If you carry Counter Assault (Bear Spray), make sure you know how to use it. It's a nonlethal means of defense proven to be capable of turning a charging grizzly.

I am not an attorney nor have I had police training or come from a work history that dealt with community problems and wrong doers. My work experience comes from the world of dealing in industrial settings with people of purpose who do not seek out physical confrontation.

But, now retired my wife and I travel extensively to many parts of our country; into diverse cultures that make up the US and quite often camp in remote and private areas at places that are open to the public. Like all of you, there are times we become vulnerable to harassment that could become a threat to our personal being. This hasn’t happened often, but enough so that we have given personal protection some thought.

I am no longer a young buck that can intimidate a person bent on causing us trouble. Like the old bear in the forest, an aggressor knows I am more bluff than substance. MAYBE! With age should come a degree of guile and cunning. AND, maybe have smarts enough to carry a big stick.

First, I want to say that we should be aware of surroundings into which we venture. The ‘inner-woman’ in us, or at the very least, the woman beside us should be heard and her advice respected. Women seem to have a better intuitive sense about potentially dangerous situations. We should listen to that intuition and let it be a warning to us. Don’t knowingly put yourself into a corner and above all, if it doesn’t feel right to you, remove yourself from the area.

Let the CG owner and or the local police deal with the troublemakers.

There could come a time where you must face the danger because the police are too far away or the danger is sudden and imminent. Now what? Should you carry a club, knife, bear spray or mace or a gun for personal protection? Have you thought about what it would be like to kill or seriously injure another person? What would that person have to be doing to you or a loved one for you to take that drastic action? When you carry a lethal weapon you take on a heavy burden of responsibility for your actions…. and the consequences.

I have talked with firearm instructors about defensive weapons and their use. One was an attorney who centered his teaching upon the fact that carrying a weapon should only be used for personal defense when you were IN FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE OR THAT OF OTHERS OR IN DANGER OF GREAT BODILY HARM. Only if your life or that of someone else’s was in mortal danger could you use your weapon. That is the only legal justification for using a firearm for defense and the burden of proof that you used the weapon legally falls upon your shoulder and those of your attorney.

He made it perfectly clear that if you pulled your weapon for any reason, the cash register would start working against you. Threatening with a weapon for right or wrong reasons would likely bring in the police and the first thing they would do is arrest the gun to neutralize the situation and then sort out the facts later. Here, you would need a lawyer. Ka-ching, ka-ching!

If you end up shooting somebody whether justified or not and that person died, you could look at an attorney bill that probably would clean out your net worth. Attorney bills tend to be based upon ability to pay. A shooting is very costly in many ways. Is shooting a hot head that turns out to have a history of punching out people worth the financial burden you would undertake?

You won’t have much time to decide if the threat is real and you are fearful of death or great bodily harm. Is trash talk and site encroachment worth your financial net worth? You are better off walking away from the situation if you can.

How about that late night banging and crashing on your trailer and vehicle? You are awakened from a sound sleep in this remote canyon and you and wife are frightened out of your skin. Again, retreat the best you can. Hit your panic button on your keychain to activate your car horn and lights and keep your doors locked and interior lights off. Have your car or truck positioned so the headlights will illuminate your trailer. Don’t engage the aggressors by talking or answering their taunts. Use your cell phone to call for help LOUDLY. Prepare to defend your family if they gain entrance to your unit. Have defensive weapons at the ready and know how to use them. You will notice in photos of COPS dealing with situations like this, they do not have their finger on the trigger. If you decide to carry a weapon, take lessons from a professional FIRST.

If they begin to gain entrance, shout loudly DROP YOUR WEAPON, I AM ARMED AND HAVE CALLED THE POLICE. You want anybody around to know you are under attack and threatened with a weapon and that you have warned them you are armed. If they keep coming the use of lethal defensive force might be legally justified if you fear for you life and your castle is invaded.

But, do your best never to put yourself in an environment where you could be faced with having to make this kind of decision. Think defensively and anticipate, Follow your intuition and move on. If all this fails, know how to use a weapon if you choose to carry one. Have your lawyer’s card handy should you have to use a weapon. You will need him. You have taken on a great new responsibility and you should train yourself to exercise it responsibly.


Unfortunately, I believe with our society now in a state of flux we will be encountering more people at loose ends, much like the people from my Cut Bank incident. Though I still don’t believe there should be carte blanch on guns in national parks, I believe everyone should have a plan of action. Whatever your plan, rehearse it from time to time, and then don’t hesitant to implement it if the situation calls for it.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a story from Bill and Larry who have confronted more than their share of violence. Their lifestyle and their advice is well thought out, all derived from experience.



*Return of the Cranes


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